My hitch is too low. Any ideas?

Discussion in 'Tow Vehicles, Hitch & Towing' started by Zephrant, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. dupreet

    dupreet New Member

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    Hi,

    My 2-cents...

    I would go back to the ball hitch and dump the WDH; neither your car or camper is structurally designed to use it. All it really will do is add weight to the rear of your car. If you get the spring bar tight enough to throw weight on the front axle, you are putting stress on the car's uni-body (non-frame) that it wasn't designed for.

    I think air bags, air shocks, or helper leaves on the car's rear axle is the best thing to do.

    Good Luck, and happy camping.

    Todd

    PS - yes, you can take the two bolts off the shank and flip it over so the 'extra' tail now hanging below the hitch is on top!
     
  2. Rodger D.

    Rodger D. New Member

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    Sir

    I will address some items either spoken or shown.

    Adding shocks as "helper" models or the like is adding structural
    pressure where the body of the vehicle is not designed to
    hold this. In a short time you could have the top of the shock protuding
    into the Passenger Part of the Vehicle still bolted to the structure.

    Depending on what the design is look at adding an higher rated
    rear spring or strut unit. This is what the factory does with Tow
    Packages.

    Look at the "j" part of your unit ( the piece which has the Tow Ball
    bolted to it ). Your local UHaul place has loads of free information To
    Show Ya. Your goal is to keep the vehicle level and the trailer level.
    If any thing is not level it is OK to have the trailer very slightly lower
    in the front.

    Remove the three bags of cement from your trunk to re-look at The
    Ride Height of the rear of your car and then do as needed to keep
    it there.

    Hint: The Wagon Series of your vehicle has the same Ride Height as
    of your car. The complete Rear Strut Assembly ( and Springs too ) will
    bolt into what you have. The advantage is the springs have an higher
    strenght.

    I am sure some one with an Horse Trailer will accept the part that you
    need "to dump".




    Rodger & Gabby
    FltSgt@msn.com
    COS
     
  3. Zephrant

    Zephrant New Member

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    Lots to answer here-

    On the WDH head angle- Yep, it was angled towards the car (it's adjustable). I could not install the trunnion bars when it was vertical, they hit the ground. (Again, not the right setup for my TV).

    With the receiver flipped, the lowest mounting point for it set the ball at least 2" higher than it is in the "before" pictures, which makes it a good 4+ inches higher than level, farther than I'm comfortable with.

    On the car capacity- My kids are small, and I'm a light-weight myself. All four of us in the car with our gear and trailer tongue weight would be less than four average adults in the car, so well within the ratings of the car, which are also conservative.

    I'm really only trying to move less than 200 pounds of load. Maybe #75 pounds to the front wheels, and #75 pounds to the trailer. That would let me not have to be as careful with the weight I put in the trunk. Last summer I did all the bedding the trunk, and the food and other gear in the trailer (balanced). That worked, but was a pain when we spent a few nights in a hotel in Portland, and had to jack up the trailer to get to the luggage.

    This summer is a trip where the first part is with family, and I was trying to avoid having to dig though the trailer to get the first week's work of gear out of it when we get there late at night.

    I think that my main mistake was that I thought that the smallest HDW that drawtite sold would be smaller. I remember the setup my Dad had on his 21' Terry, pulled with one of the old Ford wagons. This hitch seems every bit as beefy as that, and certainly is not what I thought I was buying.

    The local RV shop didn't have anything in stock, and I figured that if I had to wait for it, I could mail order it (free shipping) and be fine. I was wrong, and now will pay in money and time. : (

    The Reese 350 has the bars mount exactly where the poles for my bed supports mount. So I can't use that without some welding and new poles. They make a single-bar setup that looks like it would at least mount on the trailer, but I'm not liking the clearance I'd probably get with that either.

    So you all have convinced me that the WDH is not workable with my setup. I'm attempting to return this setup to drawtite (minus shipping both ways and a restocking fee, if they decide to even accept a setup that has been "bolted up".) And I'll see what I can do with springs or air bags.
     
  4. Zephrant

    Zephrant New Member

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    Dupreet, you summed it up nicely. I was thinking that I could move just a little weight and be fine, but the gear I can buy is just not built for that.

    Rodger D.- You make good sense too. I don't yet know anything about my TV (stock) struts, so was leery of making changes there. I know I don't know enough to just swap them out for something that would work better, but I'll start the research.

    Ideally, I'd like to raise the car at least 1/2" when empty (it looks like it sags in the butt a little even when empty), and have a heavier spring. I'll post on the LegacyGT forum and see if someone can help me work on that path.

    Thank you very much for your comments- I've read them all, several times. Happy camping, and if you see me on the Oregon Coast this summer, come over and say hi. : )
     
  5. gonzo628

    gonzo628 New Member

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    I am not sure if your subaru would support this, but I have an 06 Sienna (a van which is notorious for a sagging rear end). the common solution there is AirLift 1000 air bags. I installed them on my van and am quite fond of them. They do not alter the ride (make it stiffer, or raise it above factory height). Instead, they restore, when under load, the ride height. The air bags fit inside the rear springs. Might be worth a look...
     
  6. BajaPup

    BajaPup New Member

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    Maybe a word of encouragement will help. My '06 Baja only drops 3/4" at the draw bar with the camper hitched up. That's with the original suspension, too. OTOH, my camper is probably lighter than yours.

    How much does your car settle? If you're sticking with the car and camper, air bags might be worth a look. Seems like a good method to adjust the suspension for the load.
     
  7. bigbluetraverse

    bigbluetraverse New Member

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    I had Airlift on my 07 Colorado.

    It was rated well above the Starcraft I had at the time but I had the Z71 off road package So i needed a drop shank to hook the camper up. This in turn pulled the back end down as you would expect but with the drop shank things started getting to close to the ground.

    Also the Z71 package lifts the back up off the springs an even though they added a couple of leafs it would still flatten out a little to much.

    I was always dragging the chains.

    The AirLift was perfect for that truck. Leveled me back out and kept the camper level.

    I also had a situation were the camper was on a cement pad and the rest of the way was an elevated gravel lane. I hooked up once and the angle was so bad I couldn't get the wheel on the crank to come up high enough to remove it.

    The guy next to me was laughing and saying oh no what are you going to do now...

    I had the last laugh though, I went up to the truck and pumped the back air bags up until the wheel dropped of.

    Then went back and said " What your van doesn't do that?" :)
     
  8. Zephrant

    Zephrant New Member

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    The AirLift bags sounds interesting- Are they going to last 10+ years? Should I remove them in the winter when I don't need them?

    On the legacygt forum, it's been suggested that I replace the struts with units from an Outback. That will give me a 1 to 1.5" lift all the way around. Since my struts are original and have 85k miles on them anyway, replacing them is not a bad plan. Tons of options out there to lower my car, not so many to give it a slight lift.

    I can get a full set of new Outback struts/springs for $250 delivered.
     
  9. bigbluetraverse

    bigbluetraverse New Member

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    From their web site.

    Air Lift offers the best Lifetime Warranty in the industry.

    They will basically replace the air bags if you ever have an issue with them

    I left mine on all year round..

    You will actually have a better ride with them in then what you have now. Plus you can adjust the ride to what suits you best.

    I liked it as the Colorado's use a leaf spring and as the truck aged the spring softened up. I was able to maintain the factory ride height this way.
     
  10. FarmerDave

    FarmerDave Active Member

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    I'd be flipping the stinger to be point upwards. Looks like you'll get 2 more inches clearance easy.
     
  11. Camp-N-Nuts

    Camp-N-Nuts KrustyKamper

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    Sounds like a "Viagra" moment! [:O]
     
  12. BajaPup

    BajaPup New Member

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    That'd probably give you a setup very similar to my '06 Baja, even though the Baja is based on the previous gen Outback. Your Legacy is due for front struts anyway, so you could replace them with Outback struts all around, or Outback struts up front, and Outback springs with air bags in back. It doesn't sound like you'd lose much money by going with Outback struts x 4, and adding air bags if needed.

    Even then, I still have to wonder if you're just putting too much camper behind your car. Maybe it's time to load up your camper and visit a scale to determine actual gross weight of the camper, car, camper+car, and tongue weight. I'm pretty close to the max weights with my TV+Pup packed for the road, and while it wasn't uncomfortable in the mountains, it seemed to me that anything more would've been too much for the Baja to handle safely.
     
  13. LISA1969

    LISA1969 New Member

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    i hear what your saying. i tow with a ford windstar minivan and i have a bayside which is a heavy pup. i have 6 in the van and keep the weight evenly distributed or at least try to. i sag a little but not very noticeable. will get a new tv eventually just not yet only have 150k on this one. :)
     
  14. Zephrant

    Zephrant New Member

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    Yep, I do need to hit a scale. Haven't done that yet, so need to look up where I can go locally.

    I've been unable to find any air lifts that claim to fit my TV- Coil-over struts on all fours.

    For this trip, I'll go with how I went last year. No WDH, light as possible in the trunk, and go slow out of the gas stations. Maybe later this year I'll do the Outback struts on the Legacy upgrade. That would give me 1-1.5" of lift all the way around, which would be good in the winter too.

    Thanks for the comments, I appreciate them.
     

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